Just a decade ago, end-user computing (EUC) entailed giving users secure email access on their devices. The IT industry introduced mobile device management tools which allowed companies to connect their employees securely to basic corporate network resources. Enterprise mobility management then went a step further by enabling secure mobile versions of business-critical applications and data loss prevention to protect corporate information. People are using all kinds of devices, at their desk and while they're on the move. They want to access everything from their most important business files to their personal photos. And the needs of the company to keep things private and secure have not gone away, even with more access.
Today, however, we see every aspect of the workplace evolving. Businesses deal with a vast variety of devices with different operating systems and form factors, organizations embrace the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) workstyle and employers respond to the modern employee needs of remote work.
With these workplace changes in mind, IT has to securely integrate this heterogeneous mix of devices into critical business operations and manage them to enable a consistent, productive user experience, a practice commonly known as unified endpoint management (UEM).
What is UEM?
In its simplest form, UEM is bringing together the management of all endpoint devices (mobile, desktop and now Internet of Things (IoT)) under a single solution in a user-centric, secure and cohesive manner. It removes stacks, silos and redundancies by enabling IT to stop using disparate systems to secure and control devices.
How does it work?
Unified endpoint management typically relies on the mobile device management application program interfaces (APIs) in desktop and mobile operating systems. It combines traditional client management of desktop and PC systems with a modern enterprise mobility management framework. A comprehensive UEM solution will enable IT to manage users and deliver a consistent experience across all endpoints, secure and manage the full device lifecycle, and do it all in a single, comprehensive platform.
Why should you adopt it?
- Visibility – security and compliance. IT typically lacks endpoint visibility. This means users must proactively manage their own devices , making remote users even more vulnerable. Due to this, one of UEM’s strongest selling points is its ability to monitor and act on endpoint devices as warranted. Security features can be enabled remotely even before your employee receives the device.
- Efficiency. UEM takes a load off your IT team through features that enable automation of the rollout process for both large and small software projects, including software deployments and patching. Internal VMware research revealed that, on average, it takes an average of 6 months or more to patch at least half of a company’s PCs. This is due to devices that are not on the corporate network. This is where UEM comes in, to keep all endpoints, both on and off corporate networks, up to date with the latest patches with minimal IT involvement.
- Consistency – driving down cost. In traditional landscapes, IT components operate in silos with multiple tools. UEM breaks down those silos with a unified toolset allowing IT to manage any endpoint, as well as provide users with a standardized and optimized experience across devices. Needless to say, this integrated approach cuts down on redundancies and hence drives down operational cost.
- Sense of control – self-service. Poor user experience translates into higher support costs. With a universal platform, employees can get right to work without having to troubleshoot restrictions or access requirements where applications and data are accessible in a predictable way. In addition to bringing down support costs, hassle-free access drives up employee productivity.
Who needs it and when should you get it?
Whether you are an IT director, a network admin or even a cyber security manager, you, your business and your employees stand to benefit from UEM.
The truth is, if you aren’t yet considering adopting UEM, you’re already falling behind. The number of connected devices across the globe are predicted to go as high as 50 billion by 2020, and with that comes the need for modern device management. Unified Endpoint Management is already an IT industry turning point crucial in management solutions for the modern business paradigm.
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